I was always going to fertilise my child’s life with music.
In utero he heard Miles Davis In A Silent Way almost every night of the third trimester. His mother and I loved the album and often relaxed into its kind of blue groove, so why wouldn’t it enhance the development of a soon-to-be-released little one? [You can read my appraisal of this wonderful album here.]
When he entered the outer world there was no doubt less of the industrial level in-womb whoosh and shloosh, but certainly noise of many different kinds. His dad, having acquired a pretty serious record addiction sometime in his late teens, has zero tolerance for silence.
Early in his life, the boy became part of the library itself when he modelled for the cover of the annual compilation CD. Not being any sort of photographer, I was quite chuffed at the result.
As he did not demand an exorbitant fee (half a biscuit, as I recall) and only slobbered over the case a bit, everyone was happy.
The next stage was creating CD compilations for him. Peter Gabriel’s “I Go Swimming” provided the title for a CD aimed at the weekly car trip to his infant swimming lessons. But this was merely warming up. Next came Yummy Yummy. It was diverse and (I thought) fun. Having invested considerable time and energy into its compilation I decided to share the joy by distributing it to everyone in our circle under the age of six.
As the next in the Kidsbop! series was already in the planning stage, the package even included a feedback form to fine-tune selection for the next volume. To my astonishment, the expected deluge of orders did not eventuate.
Undeterred, I continued compiling.
For those of a curious disposition, all the details – songs, artists and release dates – for the entire Kidsbop! series are listed below.
How were these labours of love received? Well, the boy certainly enjoyed most of the music, taking it on-board with the insouciance of childhood. With the last one, I tried really hard to include him in the process, auditioning tracks and getting his little thumbs up or down. Naturally, I could not resist exerting some influence. Free choice? Huh! With decades of accumulated listening, I know what’s good. Still, it was more of a collaborative effort and when he recently heard and named “Johnny B Goode” while we were in a local Charity Shop, the elderly volunteer ladies were duly impressed.
The comps get played now and then, mostly during long car trips. But on those rare occasions when he is invited to influence the musical atmosphere at home, he invariably chooses Kraftwerk’s Man Machine.
Kids love Kraftwerk. I bought another vinyl copy of Man Machine recently and filed it away, unopened, with a post-it note saying “For you if you want it”. I’m not entirely sure, but maybe I was wandering towards a place where older parents sometimes glimpse flickers of their own mortality out of the corner of a moistening eye.
And the boy? He wants to listen to the talking book of Roald Dahl’s The Twits.
The Kidsbop! Series
Yummy Yummy [December 2006]
1 YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY – OHIO EXPRESS
2 IT WON’T BE LONG – THE BEATLES
3 LING TING TONG – THE FIVE KEYS
4 CHOO CHOO CH’BOOGIE – LOUIS JORDAN
5 BABY ELEPHANT WALK – HENRY MANCINI
6 MY NAME IS JACK – MANFRED MANN
7 GIVE HIM A GREAT BIG KISS – THE SHANGRI LAS
8 THE GNOME – PINK FLOYD
9 THE AIRPLANE SONG – THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN
10 MELLOW YELLOW – DONOVAN
11 I’M MAD AGAIN – THE ANIMALS
12 COCONUT – HARRY NILSSON
13 DRIVING IN MY CAR – MADNESS
14 STEP BACK – JOHNNY YOUNG & KOMPANY
15 GETTING BETTER – THE BEATLES
Bom Bom [February 2007]
1 BOM BOM – DADDY COOL
2 BLUE SUEDE SHOES – ELVIS PRESLEY
3 CHICKEN PAYBACK – THE BEES
4 MY FRIEND JACK – THE SMOKE
5 LS BUMBLEBEE – PETER COOK & DUDLEY MOORE
6 LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD – RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET
7 OO-POP-A-DA – DIZZY GILLESPIE
8 SICK MAN BLUES – THE GOODIES
9 THE MUSIC GOES ROUND MY HEAD – THE EASYBEATS
10 TEQUILA – THE CHAMPS
11 CLAPPING SONG –BELLE STARS
12 VEGETABLES – THE BEACH BOYS
13 MORNING TOWN RIDE – THE SEEKERS
14 HEADING FOR A FALL – THE HOLLIES
15 UP THE WOODEN HILLS – THE SMALL FACES
16 BRAINIAC’S DAUGHTER – DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR
Roar! [May 2008]
1 ROAR (LION)
2 WILD THING – THE TROGGS
3 ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK – BILL HALEY
4 TWEEDLE DEE – LAVERNE BAKER
5 ABC – THE JACKSON 5
6 YOUR MAMA DON’T DANCE – BOOTLEG FAMILY
7 DOWN ON THE CORNER – CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL
8 BOOM BOOM – JOHN LEE HOOKER
9 MOONSHADOW – CAT STEVENS
10 WHAT A SILLY THING TO DO – THE TWILIGHTS
11 WORKING IN THE COAL MINE – DEVO
12 POCKET CALCULATOR – KRAFTWERK
13 PARIS 2079 – HAPPY MOOG
14 SUGAR SUGAR – THEARCHIES
15 WILD THING – THE GOODIES
Goodness Gracious [February 2012]
1 HIT THE ROAD JACK – RAY CHARLES
2 GREAT BALLS OF FIRE – JERRY LEE LEWIS
3 BORIS THE SPIDER – THE WHO
4 ROUTE 66 – THEM
5 LITTLE RED ROOSTER – ROLLING STONES
6 BAD BOY – THE BEATLES
7 57 CHANNELS (AND NOTHIN’ ON) – BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
8 SCHOOL DAYS (RING! RING! GOES THE BELL) – CHUCK BERRY
9 I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND – THE BEATLES
10 ROADRUNNER – THE ANIMALS
11 JOHNNY B. GOODE – CHUCK BERRY
12 TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS – CHUCK BERRY
13 THE PURPLE PEOPLE EATER – SHEB WOOLEY
Interviewed for this article, the child in question named the following as his favourites from the series:
Yummy Yummy Yummy – Ohio Express [Vol.1]
Great Balls Of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis [Vol.4]
Boris The Spider – The Who [Vol. 4]
Wild Thing – The Troggs [Vol. 3]
My Name is Jack – Manfred Mann [Vol. 1]
Miles Davis “In A Silent Way” [Columbia 1969]
Kraftwerk “Man Machine” [Capitol 1978]
Roald Dhal “The Twits” [Penguin 1980]
Roar! cover image from:
Maurice Sendak “Where The Wild Things Are” [Harper & Row 1963]
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